l'enjeu est grand
Monday, February 11, 2013
I stumbled across this photo this morning. I think it speaks volumes after today's story, which is dedicated to my husband.
Today's word is an expression: l'enjeu est grand
: the stakes are high (there is a lot at risk)
Audio File: listen to me say this phrase Download MP3 or Wav
Je ne sais pas quoi faire. L'enjeu est grand.
I don't know what to do. The stakes are high.
All kinds of "steaks" or "enjeu" expression here, if you are looking to improve your French. If you are looking to relate to life... then please read my story, below. It's a follow up about the memoir I would like to write...
A Day in a French Life... by Kristin Espinasse
Do not allow yourself to get excited by what is said about you. Let the world talk. —Fenelon
Jean-Marc and I are lying on our backs in the dark. It is 5 in the morning and I've had insomnia for the first time in years. My mind is spinning after the recent revelations I have shared on my blog. But no matter the positive reception, no matter the encouragements, I can't help but fear what's coming next—if I go ahead with plans with this tell-all memoir.
The thought sends chills and I pull up the covers. "I feel hungover," I joke, turning to my husband. But just like the aftermath of a drinking spree, will I regret being so loose with my story? So much has already come out, in the previous posts. The sharing of my sobriety is detoxifying. There are cold sweats and headaches now, ten years after my last drink.
Jean-Marc laughs. "It's all that pastis you swallowed last night!" As he shifts beneath the covers, pockets of warmth are freed, enveloping me. With the warmth, comes a sense of security. It seems safe to broach a subject that is bothering me.
"There are a couple chapters we need to talk about..." I begin. Though I have gone over the sensitive material many times in my mind, I forget that Jean-Marc is hearing the chapter outline for the first time. So busy spitting out the controversial details, I am unaware of the growing silence in the room.
"If I could just get past these chapters," I conclude, "I think I can tell the rest of my story."
Jean-Marc turns over, his back is now to me. In 19 years of marriage, such body language is easier than French to interpret.
I quietly get up to make our tea, realizing that my number one supporter may no longer be able to cheer me to the finish line. Without him, I will not make it past chapter one. I won't even want to.
Stopping at the bathroom sink, I splash water on my face. Looking into the little mirror, I see scars all over: a huge "H" on my forehead, an "L" down my nose. Stitch, stitch, stitch. The latest one, a dent near the tip of my nose, tells of ongoing struggles.
Damn it! I think, shutting off the tap. He's still mad at me. But haven't I paid for my past follies? If my squeaky-clean daily living wasn't enough, I'd coped with skin cancer in the last year and a half. It is as though the recovery work that began in me a decade ago continues to push up "toxins"—to the very surface of my skin!
Climbing back into bed with the hot mugs, I hand Jean-Marc his tea, setting mine down on the nightstand beside a stack of notebooks. Slipping under the covers I still feel the chill in the air. I ask Jean-Marc what he is thinking.
"About a lot of things..." My husband's words feel condemning.
But what did I expect? I deserve the cold shoulder—I have put him through a lot. I will continue to pay penance for my actions, not because he asks me to—but because I need to! I will bring Jean-Marc his morning tea... I will write my stories, always focusing on the good things... I will wear sunscreen!
"Listen," I say, defensively. "I don't have to write this book. I can stop now, call it quits after those two chapters. I have received several notes... readers telling me that because of my coming clean, they are finally going to quit drinking. If writing those chapters has helped someone, it has been worth it. I need not go any farther!"
"But this book," I continue, "is not about drinking. As for the chapters I have just told you about, I don't have to include them. I can just omit the information and the story will be: "I got drunk, I fell down, I got sober, I started a blog, became an author, moved to a winery! stayed sober through that, and skin cancer—and lived happily ever after!
Re the controversial parts, I can drag myself over the coals sharing all my faults and revealing all my transgressions. And YOU can be the hero at the end of every episode, cheering me on and on!
But by not sharing the whole story, my behavior—recounted across those revelatory pages—won't make a lot of sense! All the colorful exploits will be taken out of context. Either I tell the whole story, or quit now.
The look on Jean-Marc's face tells me he's coming round... but just in case, I assure him:
Yes, I can just stick to blog-writing and keep typing these skipping-through-lavender-fields lighthearted anecdotes. And you can be the one who is always hiding encouraging notes in my robe pocket, gifting me with cherry trees," I say, referring to the opening chapter in the book that I still so deeply want to write.
"I told you," Jean-Marc mumbles, "write what you need to write."
Another period of silence passes in which each of us reaches for our computers and our tea, to surf the net, silently. Checking my mail I am struck dumb by a letter.
The forwarded email has accidentally ended up in my inbox. In the letter, someone I admire—who has also shown a lot of affection toward me—is telling another friend about the first two chapters of my memoir. Concerning the Prologue story, she writes:
This one is about her marking her 10th anniversary of sobriety. And, yes, if you read it and get the impression her husband is a jerk, he is.
I am stunned as I read my friend's words. I know she cares about me, but I had no idea how she felt about my husband! Farther down the email, I see the recipient's response:
I can appreciate what this woman went through to get where she is and should I assume that the rest of the manuscript details what it took for her (and out of her) to get where she is today?
They were talking about us—me and "The Jerk"! My heart fell as I began to realize the consequences of my sharing. Write enough about my husband—no matter how lovingly—and somebody out there is going to think he is a connard!
It occurred to me then that no matter how sensitively I told my story, I was putting my husband's reputation at risk.
"You have my permission," Jean-Marc said, setting down his tea. "I don't care what anybody thinks about me."
"But you should care. It might hurt you one day. Someone might mistake you for a connard!"
The more I thought about it, I realized what danger I was putting him in. Though a few illustrative sentences about Jean-Marc's behavior might balance out my own questionable behavior in one of the dramatic chapters, would readers be left with a bad taste in their mouths? And would that be what they remembered?
Only I will know all his proofs of love and the lengths he has gone to to pull us through.
Next I thought about the risk to my own reputation. Did I really want to be labelled? You know, she's an alcoholic... complete strangers would say. Should I choose to go ahead with my story, there would be other colorful labels that would crop up, too!
Having built up a blog in the past ten years, with supportive (and down right adoring) readers, do I want to risk off-putting any one of them with some tidbit from my private life?
I began to think about all of the people that would read my story, from my French aunts to my grandchildren to the lady at the flower stand, to whom I had given my card. Did I want them to know everything about me? What would be the consequences?
In ten years would family members look at me and say, "But Kristi, what were you thinking?"
Would my husband still be here?
Is it really worth it? Even if I were to work with an agent and a publisher—and be paid for my story—would it be, in the end, at my very own expense?
Monday morning now. My husband is laughing again. After a particularly painful weekend, he is back to his chipper, teasing self when I bring him his morning tea.
"Pray for me, that I might tell this story," I whisper.
"I already have," Jean-Marc smiles.
"Are you just saying that? You didn't pray!" I say, poking his side.
"Yes, I did," he pokes me back, and I'm touched, believing him.
My mom supports me, my sister too: "Call me every day," Heidi insists, encouraging me to tell my story, if it will help me. "I think it will help others," I say.
"You bet it will help others!" my sister agrees.
Post note: To my friend who wrote that Jean-Marc is a jerk. He has not seen your letter and I am not mad at you. I only ask that you will remember to withhold judgment. I want to tell my story but I am terrified of anyone judging my husband or myself, which will happen, I know.
Jean-Marc may not always be an angel, but he is my Prince Charming. His love has swooped me up, quite literally off the ground.
A final word: when I have my doubts about sharing my story, including the bad decisions I have made, it gives me great courage to know that readers are not judging me. I read every comment, here are just a few that speak to me, as I continue to weigh whether or not to share certain details of my story:
If it gives someone else the courage to make important changes, it will be worth it. Hopefully, it is therapeutic for you as well. There is no shame in past weakness overcome, or, at least held at bay. --Rob T
Kristin- You may never see my comment-- there are so many. And it doesn't really matter. Stop worrying about what everyone else thinks and focus on you. You are a brave, strong woman. It takes guts to admit that you aren't perfect, but none of us are. This "confession" only makes me admire you more. We all have weaknesses, skeletons, "fallings down" or however you want to put it. We are human. Be true to yourself. I wish you the very best. Write this book for you. I will read it and so will many others. Much love sent your way- Teresa.
To comment on this story, or to read the comments, click here.
Chapters: click on the following links to read the book that I am currently writing
Jean-Marc (here with Tom Mann) will kick off his USA Wine Tour this spring. Check out his itinerary and see if he will be in your area. Click here.
If I continue writing... I'll tell you the story of moving to a wine farm. Yes, I was tempted there. No, I never tasted so much as one drop of Jean-Marc's award winning-wine. I swear.
A Message from Kristi: Ongoing support from readers like you keeps me writing and publishing this free language journal week after week. If you find value in this website and would like to keep it going strong, I kindly ask for your support by making a donation today. Thank you very much for being a part of this community and helping me to maintain this site and its newsletter.
Ways to contribute:
1. Paypal or credit card
2. A bank transfer via Zelle, a great way to send your donation as there are no transaction fees.
Or purchase my book for a friend, and so help spread the French word.
For more online reading: The Lost Gardens: A Story of Two Vineyards and a Sobriety
On ne prend pas de vin ce soir.
We are not having [any] wine this evening.
How about some delicous grape juice?
Posted by: gail bingenheimer | Monday, February 11, 2013 at 01:22 PM
Posted by: Lillian Kennedy | Monday, February 11, 2013 at 01:34 PM
Indeed no one is perfect. It is only when we discover our own imperfections and begin to face them honestly can we have lives that are free of guilt and deception.
My father was alcoholic and it was because of him (and through the grace of God exposure to alcohol treatment in my medical training) that I went to work in the field of chemical dependency. For now 35 years I have been a member of Al-Anon which is the program for family & friends. In my home group, we often say we are glad we had this issue in our lives because we would never have found Al-Anon and become the people we have because of it. There are blessings in many things and this is one.
Keep up your good work. You are doing great things and are indeed a messenger of goodness and hope.
Posted by: Tom | Monday, February 11, 2013 at 01:37 PM
Kristi - we adults all have our shortcomings. To tackle them and try to make things right is brave and takes courage. There is nothing to be ashamed about, on the contrary. Your story will help many people and some of them might even try to overcome their own problems in whatever field. I am glad you came to the defense of your husband, too. Sometimes it might perhaps difficult to know whether banter is just banter or something else - so your post of today set things straight. Staying together during difficult times creates a special bond, doesn't it?
Posted by: Laura | Monday, February 11, 2013 at 01:44 PM
Dear Kristi, Consider me a supportive fan of your blog and your courage. But only write this memoir for you, not to help someone else. Write it because you have no other choice. And don't feel any obligation to publish it chapter by chapter online. This is tough stuff. Why not write it privately offline, send it to people you trust, then to an editor and agent, get critical literary/artistic feedback and only then publish a completed work. It will silence busybody critics along the way whose only interest is tearing down those who threaten them. We your readers don't need to read your memoir in process. Do that work in the safety of your bedroom and blog about the other equally fascinating parts of your life as a separate creative act.
Posted by: wylie goodman | Monday, February 11, 2013 at 01:55 PM
Hang in there. Your honesty and ability to be real will ring true for others. Putting your experience into words will be meaningful for you as well for those who read your work. You are right to celebrate how far you have come!!
Posted by: Stephanie in Webster | Monday, February 11, 2013 at 01:59 PM
You have Jean-Marc's blessing and your family's blessing so that's all you need to move on with your story. Up until I read your post about your ten year milestone, I thought your life was like skipping through the lavender fields. Your life sounded so wonderful, beautiful, fairy tale like. I think now that you have revealed your story, you have revealed a truer side of your life. Real life isn't always beautiful and lovely. Life is sometimes ugly, hard and gritty. We all have our struggles that we go through, nobody escapes them. We just have to pray and hope that we can deal with whatever hand we are dealt. I think you are helping others by telling your story as well as yourself. Bon courage Kristin! We are with you but do it for yourself!
Posted by: Eileen - Charlottesville, VA | Monday, February 11, 2013 at 02:01 PM
Everything in moderation.
Posted by: Mary | Monday, February 11, 2013 at 02:01 PM
Kristin, part of your journey has been to be the authentic, true person you are. I have no doubt the recounting of your story is painful in reliving events and experiences that have molded you into the beautiful and courageous soul you are today. As a stage 2 breast cancer survivor - 12 years now - and having lost my only sister at age 50 to lung cancer, I say you have one shot at life, so make the most of it! Yes, once you put your words "out there," you no longer own them, and people will think and say what they will. We live in a cynical world and there will always be naysayers and thoughtless unkind comments, typically from those who have never had to weather adversity. Yet this in no way diminishes or marginalizes you, your family, your story, history and your life! I believe yours is a larger story than some simplistic label or moniker. You fought for your life. Some people never even learn how to live. Or worse, use addiction as a means to escape. Stay true to the courage of your convictions. Bon courage!
Posted by: jill | Monday, February 11, 2013 at 02:05 PM
Kristi, A wonderful social researcher and author named Brene Brown calls that feeling you woke up with the "vulnerability hangover." (I encourage you to look up her work if you want some further encouragement to tell your story.) It's that awful feeling you have when you feel like you have revealed too much. It is a perfect description. It is a risk to reveal our true selves, even to those close to us and those we love. You have laid out all of the reasons to fear telling your story, and they are real. I am learning, however, that exposing the truth to the light can be such a relief. And there is no doubt that other people are helped by the telling of our real stories because by their telling we realize that we are not alone. Bon courage!
Posted by: Ellen | Monday, February 11, 2013 at 02:05 PM
Thanks, thanks, thanks, and tears!
Posted by: Kristin Espinasse | Monday, February 11, 2013 at 02:09 PM
I found your blog a while back and my husband and I have followed it faithfully since then. We love you and Marc and do not think bad of you for these last few entries. Instead, we applaud your strength and honesty. You have a lot of friends out here cheering for you both.
Katie and Jerry Berard
Posted by: Katie and Jerry Berard | Monday, February 11, 2013 at 02:12 PM
Dear Kristin, I am a recent follower of your lovely blog. I am trying (for a long time) to learn french. I find your writing beautiful... It's up to you whether you want to reveal all. But I think no one will hold it against you if you don't. I think you are being v strong and brave.
Posted by: Angela (Dublin) | Monday, February 11, 2013 at 02:23 PM
Please write your story and truths for you alone Kristin.I do not see your husband as a jerk,and who would I be to judge that?He has been with you through thick and thin,and is this not part of one,s vows For better or for Worse.
Please remember each of us has a story,and we all need to be careful when casting the first stone........
Posted by: Jackie | Monday, February 11, 2013 at 02:26 PM
Wow, I thought you had taken the hardest, biggest step by revealing your sobriety, but it's true... the hardest is yet to come. May you rely on the encouragement of your readers and let us support you any way we can. Just post a blog--Help Me Through This!--any time you need to, and I know people will come running with support and uplifting thoughts.
Two books will be in the mail to you this week--Let's Take the Long Way Home, and The Glass Castle. (Waiting for the second one to arrive from Amazon.)
You are not alone, Kristi, either at home or out here in Cyberland.
Love and courage,
Posted by: Cyndy | Monday, February 11, 2013 at 02:28 PM
I have been reading your blog for years, enjoying every post, but have never posted a comment. Your recent post, however, have moved me to send you encouragement. While I have never struggled with your particular problem, I struggle with others -- food/sugar addiction, an almost life-long battle with my weight -- so I have some idea of what it took for you to turn your life around. Your revelations have only made me more fond and admiring of you! I can't help but believe that any revelations you make of your struggles, failings, and triumphs will only have the same effect on your friends and family. In any event, your revelations will be a real test of those relationships. Trust in those you love to see what you have accomplished and continue to accomplish on a daily basis. Your desire and need to tell this story is strong, that much is obvious. Be true to yourself, and you cannot help but honor your friends, family, and blog fans! Sending hugs and strength your way! -- Allison
Posted by: Allison Byrd | Monday, February 11, 2013 at 02:30 PM
Kristin - I have not read your Blog before, though I do benefit from your regular vocabulary reminders. I felt I must reply as I was so touched by your honesty, generosity and openness. I believe your writing will have a therapeutic benefit as well as encouraging others to share their innermost feelings and fears. My every best wish for the future - and life's blessings. Jeff J Purcell (retired 50/50 uk and Fr 44290)
Posted by: Jeff J PURCELL | Monday, February 11, 2013 at 02:30 PM
I too am an alcoholic. I find it hard to feel shame about being sober. As you know,it is no easy task.Each week I hear many stories at meetings which encourage me to maintain my sobriety. Yours will be one more in the mix.I hope you will tell your story and let it help set you free from the bondage of alcohol.
If you can run a wine farm, the rest is cake.
L'enjeu n'est pas si grand.
Posted by: tom | Monday, February 11, 2013 at 02:33 PM
Kristen what a lovely post! I know exactly what you mean, but I think the world is getting much better at understanding emotional things than it was in the Victorian era. When I started counselling in the 70's Clare Rayner was a sole voice in helping us understand our inner life. Now it's much more common and we are all the better for it. There are always those that get it first, and those yet to catch on but all of us getting to grips with our inner life is a huge benefit. I'm quite comfortable sharing my inner secrets but it's not for everyone. Give it some thought then if it still feels right go for it! I'm doing it similar in fiction form. Take care and many blessings, Lynne
Posted by: spabbygirl | Monday, February 11, 2013 at 02:35 PM
Wylie has offered wise advice, I think, that the writing of your memoir be a private journey, evolving as it will, until completed. There is always an element of risk in opening one's life to public scrutiny, but the real decision is between you and John-Marc. As you continue writing, much will be revealed. Day by day. Page by page. Grape by grape. We, your friends, will never think less highly of you and J-M because, in the end, your pain IS our pain; your joy is our joy. This is called by Thich Nhat Hanh as interbeing...we are all in this great, mysterious experiment called Life together. Blessings to you and yours.
From a rainy Roanoke.."a misty, moisty morning, when cloudy was (is) the weather..."
Posted by: Pat Cargill | Monday, February 11, 2013 at 02:35 PM
I just looked up the word connard....JM is not that
Posted by: Eileen - Charlottesville, VA | Monday, February 11, 2013 at 02:36 PM
I love your words by Fenelon. Perfect!
Posted by: Trina, St. Petersburg, Florida, USA | Monday, February 11, 2013 at 02:40 PM
God bless you. Go for it. Your fellow writer admires you and holds you and your dear ones in prayer.
Posted by: Gail, New Hampshire USA | Monday, February 11, 2013 at 02:49 PM
I am so proud of you and honored that I have been able to meet you and Jean-Marc.
Posted by: Robert Beaumont | Monday, February 11, 2013 at 02:56 PM
Dear Kristi, You go girl! Look at all the wonderful supportive comments you have already received. Do whatever is right for you and your family, everyone who matters is behind you 100%. Much love from your Canadian friends, Annabelle and Bill
Posted by: Annabelle | Monday, February 11, 2013 at 02:59 PM
You have so many wise readers, and however you choose to go forward (or not) with your memoir will be, I know, after much prayer and discussion with those that matter most, your beloved Jean Marc and family.
I do want to let you know that I have NEVER for even a tiny moment thought badly of Jean Marc from anything you have written about him. Your love for him and his for you are revealed in those wonderful snippets we get of your life in France. He has come across as a dashing French husband, a wise and loving father, and a savvy hard-working businessman ... and he's really easy on the eyes.
While it is true that the words from our hearts sometimes do not translate well in print, clearly your friend was in the tiny minority to have thought badly of your husband from your writing. Choosing to share her erroneous conclusion with another was inappropriate, and it should never have made its way back to you. Please, do not allow her faux pas to become part of your decision process.
I will continue in my prayers for you and your family. I will feel blessed to continue receiving your thrice-weekly blog. If you choose to share more, I will feel blessed with that as well.
God bless you my friend,
Posted by: JeanneRobin | Monday, February 11, 2013 at 03:01 PM
Kristen, I think what we all love so much about you is your complete honesty. I don't know you, or your husband, but I know me, and my husband and I know there have been many times when people could have called us jerks and been completely justified in doing so! And if we are all honest with ourselves, I think we could confess the same thing. So to cast that stone of judgment is not fair. We all need grace...but don't think anyone else deserves it! Keep up the good work. I pray you will be strengthened to continue along this path in writing!
Posted by: Cheryl | Monday, February 11, 2013 at 03:06 PM
On a lighter note ... I am a coffee drinker in the morning and a tea drinker for the rest of the day. Do you have a particular tea that you drink in the morning? I enjoy different teas and tisanes and mix them up depending on my mood or the occasion, but I haven't even considered giving up my morning cup of Joe until now.
Posted by: JeanneRobin | Monday, February 11, 2013 at 03:08 PM
Kristin, These past few stories have undoubtedly been the best I've read from you, and I've read consistently for over five years. If you can learn to avoid the temptation of drink, you can learn to ignore the negative voices of those who may judge. Your story is worth telling and we are ready to read. Courage! You can do it, and do it beautifully, gracefully, and honestly you will.
Posted by: Rebecca Q. T. in Baltimore | Monday, February 11, 2013 at 03:14 PM
We all have dark secrets of which we are ashamed of, but the man who can forgive them is worthy of your love and consideration--he is special :-)
Posted by: Jacqueline Satterlee | Monday, February 11, 2013 at 03:16 PM
Kristen, I think that if your husband says its ok, you should write your chapters. Every couple, myself and my wife of nearly 30 years included, has history. How you deal with it is what's important, and it sounds like you guys have made it through and retained grace, beauty, and respect for eachother. Your fans will applaude you; do the rest matter so much? I think you may find the catharsis liberating. oh, and on another note, tell your Anglophile traveler daughter to take as much of her 'French-ness' with her to Oregon as she can pack....everyone here will love it! ..mike H.
Posted by: Mike Heye | Monday, February 11, 2013 at 03:21 PM
Kristin, i think it's so awesome that you're doing this. You are going to bless so many lives with your story. don't worry about what some people may say, those who need to read your book will appreciate your sacrifice. And that's all that matters at the end. And those of us who also have a story that they need to share, will be encouraged to do so even when the steaks are high. So keep going, keep honoring your husband and your family: you're doing what you should be doing. xoxo
Posted by: mhmadera | Monday, February 11, 2013 at 03:26 PM
Kristi - I've read your blog when I come into work, three times a week, for the past five years. I'm a just-turning-30 office worker. I subscribed because I thought it would help with my French (it does), but I have stayed subscribed because your stories, and your family, have totally engaged and touched me. I feel like I know you and your family!
Your previous books have been wonderful, too.
I actually clicked on the link in my feed this morning thinking, bad news about Jean Marc? No!! He's awesome! Wondering what was wrong.
So, I was surprised to learn about your revelation? Judgmental? Definitely not! I don't know that I was an alcoholic, but I certainly partied and had MUCH too much fun when I was younger, and my husband and I deal with that sometimes when jealousy especially rears it's ugly head. All couples, and all people, struggle. You've blossomed into someone that I, and many others, really look up to.
I can appreciate your concern for what people think--I'm not sure what I would do in your situation. Whether you do or not, I still want you to know how amazing I think you and your family are, and no matter what you think about your past, I doubt you'll fall off the pedestal your readers put you on.
Best wishes to you and Chief Grape! xo
Posted by: Samantha | Monday, February 11, 2013 at 03:26 PM
YOU CAN CALL ME - LET'S READ THESE COMMENTS TOGETHER ON THE PHONE.
I LOVE YOU - YOU ARE 'THE LONE RANGER' - I AM 'TONTO' - IT LOOKS LIKE THE POSSE IS COMMING IN FROM THE HILLS.
THANK GOD !
Posted by: JULES GREER - PUERTO VALLARTA, MEXICO | Monday, February 11, 2013 at 03:27 PM
Dear Open, Honest Kristi--and Jean-Marc as well:
Please do what YOU and your family need to do. I think most of us sense your need to tell your story; that need just seeps out of your words. I think Jean-Marc understands this also. So speak, write. We will listen and learn.
Larry Mason and Sarah Humphreys
Posted by: Larry Mason | Monday, February 11, 2013 at 03:30 PM
Bon courage, Kristen! As a long time reader of your blog and books I was startled by the frankness, openness, and bravery of your last column but came away with a feeling of admiration for you and Jean-Marc--tous les deux. I don't know how any long-time reader of your column could ever derive a negative feeling of Jean-Marc; I am amazed at the judgmental overlays some people can apply to any story. It says more about them than about you. My sense of J-M has always been that he has been terrifically supportive; that you balance and help each other, as in any strong marriage. Bonne continuation--du marriage et de l'ecriture!
Posted by: Michael Armstrong | Monday, February 11, 2013 at 03:34 PM
I would like to share the most beautiful words I have ever heard in my life....received from Jean-Marc when I was in the hospital for 6 weeks in Mexico after a major accident.
'Mom, I will take care of you, I want you to come to France."
Posted by: JULES GREER - PUERTO VALLARTA, MEXICO | Monday, February 11, 2013 at 03:34 PM
Kristin, first, I want to say how impressed I am that you shared this about yourself because it took so much courage. As a blogger, I don't think I would have the same courage for the reasons you outline in your article. Secondly, the fact that your husband is encouraging you to write this book, even knowing what is at risk for him, tells me loud and clear that he is definitely NOT a jerk. I'm married to a Frenchman and only people who understand the French culture intimately can understand how private the French are and how little they share about their private lives and struggles, so your husband is showing way beyond the level of ego strength and emotional support than what most Frenchman could handle. Thirdly, the fact that you have gone 10 years without drinking while living on a winery in a foregin country shows your amazing inner strength and discipline. From my experience, just the living in a foreign country part has driven me to drink! While I don't struggle with alcoholism, your post still has helped me in reminding me that every expat, even those who seem to have the perfect lives, has their own beasts to tame and that I am not alone in that. Your post reminds me that all these 'life is perfect' expat blogs out there are just projecting images that people want to read about, and hiding the struggles we all face in our private lives and our cultural struggles and lonelines. Lastly, as for writing your book, only you and your husband can decide that. Certainly, your story will help others, and if it will help you, even better. But you must make that decision outside of the voices you find on your blog, or from your friends or family, or your publisher. I for one will support wholeheartedly whatever decision you make. Sending you hugs and admiration. Cynthia
Posted by: French Alps American | Monday, February 11, 2013 at 03:36 PM
Est-ce que vous avez pensé comment vous vous sentiriez si vos rôles fussent inversées, ceux de vous et Jean-Marc?
Je vous toujours admirerai, les deux, quoi qu'il arrive.
Posted by: [email protected] | Monday, February 11, 2013 at 03:37 PM
Thank you Kristen- my husband and I met Jean Marc last year here in DC during his tour and would love to meet you someday too!
I will pray as you contemplate the writing of the more difficult parts of your story. One book that has helped my process my own story of brokenness is "To Be Told" by Dan Allender.
You are a good writer, but more than that you can use words to bring your inner world to paper and that is a gift.
Posted by: mary ann | Monday, February 11, 2013 at 03:40 PM
Having had the opportunity to meet both you and Jean Marc and to read your books and follow your blog for sometime, I would venture to say that anyone who condemns your story, or you, or Chief grape is simply shallow and maybe a bit jealous. Don't worry about that persons comment. Be true to yourself and your husband and family. You have a terrific following of people all over the world you admire you and will always support you. One or two nay sayers are always going to be a fact of life. Ignore them. Follow your heart and skip the doubt. Fondly, Karen
Posted by: Karen Mitcham-Stoeckley | Monday, February 11, 2013 at 03:44 PM
What a brave thing to do. I admire your desire to share and be authentic. As another follower said, if you can live In a vineyard, you are one strong woman!! Keep wiring! You inspire me.
Posted by: Jeanne Gocert | Monday, February 11, 2013 at 03:59 PM
No, having met J-M several times, he is not a jerk. He's a sweet, caring, interested, interesting man. Tell your story, Kristin, we've all either been there or know someone close who has. (Made our reservation already to have dinner with Jean-Marc when he's in St. Paul!)
Posted by: Bill in St. Paul | Monday, February 11, 2013 at 04:01 PM
I encourage you to be kind to yourself and listen to the passion of your heart. You know what you feel you must do and with the positive encouragement of others, will make the right decision for you.
Posted by: Danielle P. | Monday, February 11, 2013 at 04:02 PM
Kristi, I hope whatever choice you make is the one that makes you and your family happy and strong. That can never be a bad choice. It is them and your happiness with them that is important. Nothing, not even helping other people out there in your reading audience, is worth putting your little world at risk if you feel that way. I guess what I'm saying is you should not feel any qualms (what are qualms, by the way?! do the French have them, too? :) ) if you choose to keep some things to yourself. While it is wise to consider advice and counsel from those you trust, it isn't always wise invite the wider world into your home or marriage or let it have great sway in important decisions. This is purely my own opinion, and like all "free advice" you can take or leave it.
But, in case you were leaning in the direction of choosing not to share too mucyh more, I just wanted you to know that there is nothing cowardly, shameful or wrong about that. If you were feeling you might have already gone too far to pull back now, etc., etc., remember it only the spoken (written) word that cannot be recalled. Your first allegiance is to your home, yourself, your husband and children, not the world, and you have already done so much good and will still do more, I'm sure.
Be well, you are a brave girl. I have cancer, too, and know a little about addiction so your path is a familiar one to me.
best wishes for your health and happiness...
Posted by: a.m.l. | Monday, February 11, 2013 at 04:03 PM
WRITE THE BOOK!
There will always be some criticism of our efforts. If they’re constructive, use them; if they’re negative, benefit from the real ones, ignore the false ones.
Kudos to Jean Marc for his support of your writing and concerns. He should also deserves an “at-a boy” for being a successful businessman in a challenging French economy.
À plus tard
Posted by: Herm in Phoenix, Az | Monday, February 11, 2013 at 04:04 PM
I have been reading your blog for several years and I have never written. Until today.
Your writing shows an amazing amount of courage. You make yourself vulnerable every time you share something intimate about yourself. Your vulnerability is your strength. Don't stop. I admire you greatly. Write your book because you want to remain authentic. Being authentic sets you free. It sets me free. Your grandchildren will read your book and learn from you.
Every day, I try to work towards those very goals: strength and courage. And I read your blogs and they ooze with both. Your book will be amazing. Keep going deeper.
Thank you from an American in French speaking Switzerland
Posted by: Adrienne | Monday, February 11, 2013 at 04:14 PM
You're much too young to be writing a memoir when you should be embracing and planning a vibrant future. I believe it is mainly therapists that believe that revisiting the past is life enhancing. They make a living at it, or by writing books about the subject. I honestly believe your time would be better spent writing a novel about your future than going public with difficulties of the past. Your life is constructed of the thoughts and feelings you harbor and spending any time focusing on events from the past that caused you difficulties is akin to revisiting mayhem. Why not focus on concentrating on thoughts and feelings that will bring you a future that exceeds your wildest dreams? Many people do not want to believe this, but there is nothing in the past that can harm you unless you insist upon dragging the past into the present where it can and will affect both now and the future. Learn from pain producing events and then let them go.
Spend the time writing your own brilliant future. Your entire life is composed in your mind from the thoughts and feelings that you focus on. So focus on thoughts and feelings that create an interesting and enjoyable story. Think big and make it outrageous because the part of you that composes your real life story can make it happen. Living in the present is important for the fact that the thoughts and feelings of today create all your tomorrows. I was a serious smoker and drinker for 40 years and stopped both 13 months ago prior to triple bypass surgery and have not thought about either since.
I cast my vote for you to get very serious about your brilliant future and let the past stay in the past.
Best of fortune
Posted by: Ken Curtis | Monday, February 11, 2013 at 04:16 PM
And for what it's worth, I've been sober for 20 years. I got sober at 24 and it wasn't easy. I'm also still with my husband who was my boyfriend at the time. My sobriety isn't exactly easy on him either. JM doesn't look like a jerk in your story. People who haven't been through what we've been through wont get it.
Write your book.
There are plenty of lavender stories.
Posted by: Dana Sacks | Monday, February 11, 2013 at 04:21 PM
I admire your strength. I certainly do not think I could live at a winery and remain sober! You seem to put a lot of pressure on yourself. I think many creative people are more introspective than the rest of us. Do whatever brings you peace. I look forward to reading your blog/books whatever your decision. Merci.
Posted by: Mary Olson | Monday, February 11, 2013 at 04:31 PM
Oh cher Kristen, please tell your story! You are brave and strong and tremendously loveable and your story will help others! Your truth will set you free and those who love you will always love you flaws and all. It is in our nature to be flawed, not everyone is as honest about it as you are! Never worry about writing to please anyone because your truth is a very personal thing. What you are showing about your character ... And telling the public, is that we can all choose to "course correct" when the path we're on isnt working for us. There is nothing that you can say about your experiences that will cause those of us who have come to love you to love you less!!' And remember that you have no idea what swamps those of us on the other end of the keyboard have also waded through! Bien sur Cher Kristen. I look forward to having you share more with us!
Posted by: CathyJazz | Monday, February 11, 2013 at 04:39 PM
I beleive it is important you write what you need to write, for yourself and as well as for others. There may be only one small word or action in writing your story that will truly touch and help another person.
And I am absolutely amazed you have overcome what you have when you realize where you have lived and continue to live - in a home that produce wine! Either a sad trick of fate or very prophetic, as if you were meant to be there. Thrive!
Posted by: Cathy | Monday, February 11, 2013 at 04:44 PM
Good morning, Kristi. I have read your posts of the past few days and wanted to comment, but your readers before me have already said it so beautifully. Be true to yourself. As for connard?! Your husband has seemed very supportive over your many writings and ... husbands are what they are. I have loved my husband dearly and deeply over the years not because we were two peas in a pod - do you want to talk totally different? - but because we complemented each other. I deeply appreciated his opinion and he respected mine, whether or not we agreed. Cheers to you and your lovely family.
Posted by: Linda R. | Monday, February 11, 2013 at 04:45 PM
Kristen, you must do as Jean-Marc said and write what you need to write. I, for one, look forward to your words ~ both the blog and this (hopefully) forthcoming memoir. You are such a talented writer, a wise woman, and knowing more of your story helps me to see you... We none of us are perfect, we are in fact only human. The more of us who are able to share and reveal our oft-times messy, always fascinating, spiritually-enriched humanity, the closer we come to accepting and loving ourselves and others. Thank you for all that you do and yes, please write your truths.
Posted by: L'Tanya Abrams Robinson | Monday, February 11, 2013 at 04:54 PM
Kristi, I only reply rarely because usually someone has expressed my sentiment already. Once again that is the case; a.m.l. has hit the nail on the head for me. Writing your memoires will be painful but probably cathartic for you. The writing and "getting it out of your system" are what is most important. You have already helped anyone who has read your confessional blogs, as well as all the others because your humility, unselfish love of others,kindness, and appreciation for the simple pleasures of life always shine through in your writing. These are probably lesson learned on the hard road to sobriety, and now we know how you have come to them. Thank you for that, but you, J-M, and your children have a right to your privacy. I don't think most people would dare to be very judgemental because there is not a single person that I know who does not a have personal friend or family member who is or has dealt with addiction. I have some of both and could be part of their stories. Your children just moved to a new town and school and may be facing enough adjustment challenges. I believe honesty is vital, but all the details may be for close family for now. Your family and friends know your struggle and that you, like anyone who has maintained sobriety, are heroic, a true role model. The people who have and continue to support you are also wonderful, since this isn't possible alone. Write it for youself, share it with your husband and children, and then decide together what to do with it. That is my humble opinion because I, like J-M, like to keep my faimly business in the family. Only because people seem to have a desire to gawk at the sensational. I wouldn't pretend it didn't happen, and is not important, and your story is probably no worse than anyone else's, but it belongs to to you and your family until everyone is ready to share. I am sure whatever you decide as a family will make you stronger and the love grow greater. You are beautiful people inside and out!!
Posted by: TK in NJ | Monday, February 11, 2013 at 04:55 PM
Power to you for putting all of this into words for all of us. I wish that my parents had been able to follow your example (my brother did and lives strong). Your writing reminds us of the complexity of life and the challenges that we all face. From our visits to you and Jean Marc, I know that he is a support and love, and we are so happy that you are sharing so much of yourself in this blog.
Posted by: Tim Averill | Monday, February 11, 2013 at 04:58 PM
Kristi, I think your opening up this part of your history is brave and could help someone else. The people who will make judgments or send emails, etc...are people who are a sad lot indeed... Generally these people have no real life or love and they try and become self important in making themselves appear better than you ( or JM). Please don't give those folks the time of day. I know a few of those types and best to just ignore them and do what you do best. We do all have skeletons in our closets and regrets and I commend you on sharing your story. In the end, reality is for each of us different based on our perspective and where we come from in life. jM's reality may be slightly different than yours but it doesn't make yours any less true. And you both seem to give and take with one another. It's lovely.
Posted by: Ginger | Monday, February 11, 2013 at 05:02 PM
If your goal is to help people, then go for it no matter what some think. To quote Joyce Meyer, "You can't have a testimony without a test." And how uninteresting without the scandal.I'm sure you couldn't reveal anything that would surprise anyone. Quelle surprise? Non.
Posted by: Lisa Teed (now Sangster) Cocoa Beach, Florida | Monday, February 11, 2013 at 05:03 PM
Kristen - Of the many comments made by your readers, I find 3 of them the most significant and deserving of your careful consideration: the words of Wylie Goodman, Pat Cargill, and Ken Curtis. Unfortunately, today's society seems to equate "memoir" with "confession". That's the Hollywood "tell all" mentality, avidly read by prurient readers who thrive on the thrill of exposure...throw in a little incest, some spousal abuse, etc., and you're guaranteed a wide readership. The purpose of a memoir, in my opinion, is to make connections, discover patterns, and elucidate the thread of meaning in one's life. You can write about dark moments without giving every nitty-gritty detail. You, as the writer, have total control over your words--not your readers. You decide what is most meaningful to share with others. It is NOT dishonest to withhold parts of yourself. That is YOUR perogative. Writing a memoir is an attempt to look at the whole of one's life...to piece together seemingly disparate experiences and struggles into a meaningful whole. (I will now step down from my soapbox). Whatever you decide prayerfully, thoughtfully will be right for you.
Posted by: Kathryn Winslow | Monday, February 11, 2013 at 05:06 PM
I agree with Wylie Goodman. It can be healing for you to write the WHOLE story, but keep some things private between you and God. I wish I knew a way to write you in a more private way.
I will say that I've been mightily blessed by books by Beth Moore. She has gone through some horrific things, but the way she alludes to them, without being explicit I find refreshing. She is very protective of her family and yet is able to share what is important to bless us.
Not everything has to be OUT THERE for everyone to comment on, think about , or criticize. It is ok to have some privacy, in your public life. go carefully and slowly and ask God. I love in the Message Bible how it says, "Anyone who calls, Help God, gets help." God Bless you through this journey.
Posted by: Jean Creighton | Monday, February 11, 2013 at 05:07 PM
Of course you know what to do, WRITE!
Someday, I will write as well.....
Posted by: Dana | Monday, February 11, 2013 at 05:09 PM
Dear Kristin, Say what you want and leave out what you want. No one of any life experience is judging. No one would believe it has always been a walk in the park. It takes courage to change cultures and to write the truth and open yourself and family to us, the public. I am a surgeon, 64 years old, my second wife and I have 7 children, one very disabled, and I have a life long history of psychiatric illness and am under close care for the last three decades. My wife's first husband was killed in a murder-suicide and so forth and so on. No one judges you. We love your humor sensitivity daring and admire Jean Marc as well. No one I repeat no one has a clean neat perfect life. You are both as handsome/beautiful as can be; obviously bright dedicated and very interesting. I wish and hope my wife and I can meet you someday. We have read French Word a Day for ten years. God bless you both. Winn
Posted by: Winn Gregory | Monday, February 11, 2013 at 05:12 PM
Although I read and understood the words written in one of the above comments about living in the present and moving on, sometimes we need to make peace with the past first before we can really and truly move beyond for good. So, I would just encourage you to do what your heart is telling you to do. Those who will read your words and benefit from them will be very thankful. Those who do not need to read them won't. Or perhaps, they will read them anyway and appreciate the difficult journey of a fellow sister. It really does not matter what anyone thinks about you, your experiences, or about Jean-Marc. One of my favorite quotes is "what other people think about you, is none of your business". Write what you need to write and tell the story that you need to tell. Perhaps the time has come to take the risk I sense you have been wanting to take for a long time. Blessings and love to you on your journey.
Your faithful friend in San Diego,
Posted by: Julie S. from San Diego | Monday, February 11, 2013 at 05:12 PM
Oh my goodness. I did not know about this until today when I clicked to the blog. I read the emails every time I receive one and have commented on those. You dear, sweet, oh-so-human, lovely person. Thank you so much for sharing your humanity with us. Each of us has our struggles and yours are not so different from ours. You honor us by telling your story. Thank you for your bravery and openess. You are setting a wonderful example.
Posted by: Marie-Louise in Virginia Beach, Virginia, USA | Monday, February 11, 2013 at 05:12 PM
I haven't posted a comment on your blog for a long time, but I've continued to be a faithful reader and admirer of you and your writing nonetheless. As to the high-stakes decisions that you are wrestling with, I can only echo the full support that others have already expressed. Primarily, I think that you should do whatever you feel a real need to do and that you and your family will be comfortable with; the desire to help others is commendable, but as you know, the cost can be significant. I also was impressed by Wylie's advice to prepare the memoir "behind the scenes" rather than publishing each chapter online. That way you and your family can judge its impact privately, and the writing process won't be affected along the way by reader comments. Bonne chance! - Charles
Posted by: Charles Orr at Flat Rock, NC | Monday, February 11, 2013 at 05:14 PM
Today , as usual, I am grateful Kristin for your clear authentic voice. I am also grateful reading the comments of most of your fans for their wise support and encouragement. I find myself resonating most with Wylie Goodman, but I'm loving the wise heart/minds of what almost everyone wrote. I'm happy to share in the encouraging tone of the day to follow your heart. and to let you know how much your readers appreciate your writing style, the life you write about, and you!
Posted by: Gayle Markow | Monday, February 11, 2013 at 05:15 PM
Writing about a struggle against weakness is a sign of great strength. It can only inspire the rest of us in dealing with our own weaknesses.
Posted by: John Carr | Monday, February 11, 2013 at 05:16 PM
I have followed you for years, Kristin, and I have admired your bravery as well as your writing in the midst of wrestling a family to its path. Keep writing. Jean-Marc loves you and he understands(I think) the need to get things out into the air, for there is healing. And then there is that wonderful mother of yours. You support your children while she supports you and your sisters; I know you cannot do what you do without either of these two wonderful people in your life. In the end, it is not what we or your family think. It is what you and your family need.
Posted by: Alyssa Ross Eppich | Monday, February 11, 2013 at 05:17 PM
As my husband and I drink our coffee and watch the sun come up over the California hills, we read your beautiful words. This has been our ritual with you for, what, 10 years now? And though we haven't written to you before, it's a fact that we have fallen in love from afar - with you, with France, and with life in general. After reading the past three of your posts, we thought now might be a good time to tell you so.
Life, lived authentically, is a bumpy road, not a super-highway.
Kristin, we've experienced incredible pain in our lives too. Your honesty is something to admire. It takes great courage and strength to stand up to the judgemental world with unblinking eyes. I know. I still struggle, for instance, with some way to explain and live with the fact that my former husband molested my young daughter. People may judge what they don't understand and yes, that hurts. In grief I've withdrawn and let the pain become a hard knot in my belly. You and Jean Marc inspire me to stand up fearlessly for the truth. Thank you for that. And know that whether or not you choose to keep going on this incredible yet difficult writing journey, we'll continue to support and admire you both.
Hugs from Northern California,
Posted by: Tracy and Peter | Monday, February 11, 2013 at 05:17 PM
Having read your initial post caused me to tell a friend something so painful in my past that I have never spoken of it since...and it was over 33 years ago. It was embarrassing and demeaning but oddly cleansing. When we tell our stories we must wring our souls out or it seems contrived and trivial. We all know you are not that. Perhaps JM may seem Gallic to those who do not understand the difference between American men and Frenchmen.(who can not look into those twinkling eyes and not love him!?) Your love and shared life is what unites you; not what others think of you. None of us are perfect and we all have looked back and wished we had acted differently. We are human, after all. If we were perfect there would be no stories to tell.
Posted by: Sue in WI | Monday, February 11, 2013 at 05:23 PM
Dear Kristin I wish I was as eloquent as you and many of your readers but I am not. I am also not as brave as you and I am frightened for you and agree with Ken Curtis. Look to the future. Leave the past in the past. We don't need to know everything about all your life. I think I would feel like a voyeur. I'm sorry. I love all your writing and your passion and compassion and after reading particularly moving stories from you I try to spend my day being a better person because of you. I wish you much love health and happiness always. Julie
Posted by: Julie from Edinburgh | Monday, February 11, 2013 at 05:30 PM
Those of us who have followed you for these many years have come to love you as a dear friend. You can count on our support no matter how you decide to proceed. The person we have come to know is one who loves life, her family and her writing. Bon courage!
Posted by: Cheryl in STL | Monday, February 11, 2013 at 05:31 PM
The story of your victory is medicine for readers. I doubt that there's a single reader who couldn't learn something from the way you and Jean Marc have honored your relationship and nurtured one another's personal growth. It's so much easier to run away from someone who is struggling than to bear part of the burden, whether the person is struggling to establish a satisfying career as a winemaker or battling substance abuse. I have concluded from your books that you and Jean Marc have supported each other through years of personal growth in a cross-cultural marriage and have succeeded in raising two loving children. Whether or not you decide to reveal the details of that journey, I will remain a fan.
Posted by: Becky Cooper | Monday, February 11, 2013 at 05:33 PM
Chère Kristin - have faith in LOVE not fear. When at the crossroads of a tough decision, analyze each path and reject the road that fear would have you take. I have tears on my cheeks for you reading this post this morning. Not one person on this planet is perfect, and anyone who would judge you or Jean-Marc is forgetting that fact, as well as the fact that life is not easy. You are surrounded by a community that loves and supports you...as well as your family. If there are a few drop-outs along the way, that's okay. You still have love in your heart for them. Remember, the last thing to fly out of Pandora's box was the Spirit of Hope!
Posted by: Stephanie in Huntington Beach | Monday, February 11, 2013 at 05:36 PM
The pain we all feel when anyone speaks poorly of our loved ones may be the most difficult pain to bear. All your readership (myself included) is empathetic to your pain and this ignorant injustice to JM's character. Isn't it amazing how one negative and disruptive voice rises above the crowd like the rasping sound of a rooster crowing over songbirds in the lovely morning light. Kristin, let the Cocks crow while you smile from the inside out, realizing they waste time by screaming just as you and JM enrich time by loving. Aloha, Bill Facker
Posted by: Bill Facker | Monday, February 11, 2013 at 05:53 PM
I think it takes great courage to do what you're doing and it is not an easy decision you're about to make. My Mother died from alcoholism 8 years ago when I was 21. I have come a long way in dealing with what happened, but perhaps reading your story will help me understand hers and some of the decisions she made. Either way, thanks for being an inspiration. I truly enjoy reading your stories.
Posted by: Kate Linske | Monday, February 11, 2013 at 05:54 PM
So much has been beautifully posted by
your many readers, so I will just share
with you the prayer that sustained my
mother during her same struggle. You
probably already know it....
God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.
Posted by: Christine Allin | Monday, February 11, 2013 at 05:57 PM
Kristin! I am finding what you are writing now much more engaging! I know it seemed you were blocked for awhile but you were digging deeper into this fertile soil, I believe.
Let me say that in my tumultuous (insane) twenties, the only person with whom I could connect was Anais Nin and her diaries which were like the bucket lifting me out of the well. Further, I loved those diaries and began my own in 1969 and still am doing that today! However, I was moved by the expurgated versions and not the versions where nothing was left out. I liked the bones of those.
Heartfelt brava for you bravery and power as a writer and above all, for the loving, interesting, creative human being that you are.
Posted by: Judythe Sieck | Monday, February 11, 2013 at 05:58 PM
Hi Kristin, So many poignant comments and love flowing your and Jean Marc's way. We are all on an incredible journey, some call it a quest. After suffering much and learning silence (still a ways to go with that), perhaps sitting with the concept of the book in silence for a couple of months will bring clarity to this particular journey. Maybe you write it now and sit in silence with your creation until the clarity comes. Either way, your purpose and the book's purpose will be revealed.
Posted by: mary | Monday, February 11, 2013 at 06:00 PM
You are very courageous for sharing your story with your devoted readers. I had a brother who was an alcoholic and it destroyed his life. I am happy to read your story of triumph and if you help one person to have the strength and courage to do the same it is worth it!
Posted by: Silvia Mistrot | Monday, February 11, 2013 at 06:04 PM
I agree with Ken Curtis that too much dwelling on the past is unhealthy. But I also believe that the lessons of the past are a great aid to your future productivity and creativeness. Use the past to enrich your writing but don't let it overpower it. And certainly don't jeopardize your family in the process. You are young for a memoir. Put all your feelings into fiction format and create a lovely story with some wonderful dogs in it. This probably isn't helpful but I do love your dogs, and living in France is my dream come true!
Posted by: Sophie Day | Monday, February 11, 2013 at 06:06 PM
Chère Kristin, la question que je me pose depuis plusieurs jours c'est pourquoi 'maintenant'?
Je vous souhaite une trés bonne soirée.
Posted by: jos | Monday, February 11, 2013 at 06:10 PM
Without trials and tribulations, we cannot possibly become the people we were meant to be. It isn't the trials and tribulations that count - it's what we DO with them - how we handle them - that is the mark of our character. There are things in my past life that I would rather not share and I am sure that is the same for most people. Even though I have overcome or dealt them, they have shaped me.
Your husband couldn't possibly be a "jerk". He is a man and he is French, so nobody should expect him to act like an American - woman or man. And he has been there for you, through thick and thin. I think he must be a pretty great guy.
It is very difficult to walk in someone else's shoes unless you have "been there." And you know, there are plenty of famous folks, who we think well of today, that were/are quite notorious!
Keep up the great insights into living life and life in France and try not to worry about what people will think. Most of us will love you for your courage and identify with your struggles. And the who cares about the rest!
Posted by: Linda in Portland, Oregon | Monday, February 11, 2013 at 06:11 PM
I have read your blog for a couple of years, stopping when it became too difficult (I had a malignant melanoma in 1981). I felt a great kinship with your strength and more apparent fragility, with your idealization of the lovely French world you have made for yourself and your family, and with your flip side of decrying yourself as unable to cook, keep house, or be a good wife. Either-or. Black-white.
I wonder if your need, your drive to write this confessional is about helping others, or is it more about making public confession of your "shame." If so, what will that cost you, Jean-Marc, and your family?
Why must it be public? Why must everyone know? Indeed, given your body's reactions to this, it sounds as if you need to listen to what your nervous system is telling you. Public humiliation or fear of it will not set you free. Setting yourself free happens inside of you. It comes from self-compassion. It is not granted by an anonymous public. It is not given by however many readers may listen and grant you absolution. No matter how many, it will never be enough. The only one that will make it enough, that will make you complete, is you.
I agree with the lonely comment on writing your future. Living in the past brings the negative forward. Wallowing and reliving (and asking your long-supportive husband to do the same) in the public eye, cannot be undone. People love to read these things - they love to cheer someone one, to identify, to be uplifted. That's why movies are popular and good books make good movies. But please consider more carefully before you bare your soul, a gentle, delicate and highly sensitive soul that cannot be given back the skin to cover it that you are threatening to peel off a layer at a time.
Be gentle with yourself.
Your unknown friend,
Posted by: Gaye Baldauf Macy | Monday, February 11, 2013 at 06:15 PM
You could have played it safe and wrote a novel using the events as the basis. Then you could have embellished it even more. Changed the names and all that good stuff. But I prefer the real-life stories. I know you are weighing the consequences carefully. I will enjoy reading if you plunge ahead after you carefully judge the depth of the pool.
Posted by: Debbie Ambrous - www.AFrenchOpportunity.com | Monday, February 11, 2013 at 06:18 PM
Wow Kristi - so many comments to go through and I read them all. You are fortunate to have so much support. And maybe that is what you need all along the way. Personally, I agreed with one of your first commentators (Wylie) who suggested the option of writing the whole book without putting it piece by piece online (and prolonging the drama, feedback etc). But I think you have become so connected with your readers that you need that feedback, and it is what is also pushing you on to be honest. Because really, if you wanted, you could continue with your posts of skipping through lavender and have a successful blog AND on the side have a successful tell-all book - which your blog readers need not even know about! Every writer, even fiction writers, have to consider that their parents, children, etc will likely read their work and discover too much about them. AND you are a writer.
The other suggestion about forgetting all this tell-all focus and start writing fiction is another great suggestion. But again, I think as a writer who is first a blogger, you have developed a huge audience, that you almost consider your family and feel you somehow owe it them to be honest. If that is how you feel, in some ways it may make the whole thing easier to get the continuous feedback along the way from all of your supporters. In some ways, I can see that is actually how you have been all along. So many of your early posts were about embarrassing French vocabulary or social misunderstandings. We could all relate and appreciated your honesty in being able to share those anecdotes. Maybe now you are moving it all on to a more serious level, and this is how you can best deal with it.
Posted by: Marilynn Gottlieb | Monday, February 11, 2013 at 06:18 PM
Opinions of others are just that, made by others reflecting who they are inside. It has nothing to do with who you or your husband are as human beings. The beauty in the story of your lives is expressed from your heart and soul on your journey together. The fact you choose to share the obstacles and lessons and the growth of both of you is a precious endeavor. I abhor labels as alcoholic, because nothing can or should ever define our constantly shifting states or awareness. The process of 'being' is only an experience, not a static state. The sensitivity of those who use alcohol to escape, unknowingly have a great gift they have not yet fully tapped. The realization that you have stopped going unconscious with liquor and are fully engaged in your writing, telling your story - Kristi, I stand applauding!! :)
Posted by: Cigi | Monday, February 11, 2013 at 06:20 PM
Love you and your family and the blog, Kristin. In keeping it real or authentic as you have done, your humanity speaks to my humanity. Je vous souhaite ainsi qu'à votre famille, une belle vie!
Posted by: Gina C. | Monday, February 11, 2013 at 06:24 PM
Here is a video you might enjoy on compassion-
Posted by: Gaye Baldauf Macy | Monday, February 11, 2013 at 06:26 PM
I admired and respected your decision to 'come out' about your battle with alcoholism. However, at the risk of becoming one of only a handful of your readers, I would respectfully suggest that you leave it at that; continue with your memoir, but you do not need to bare your soul to the world. I know that this is an unpopular view nowadays where people post the most intimate details of their lives on social media sites such as Facebook. But we really do not need to know all the personal details that you are thinking of writing about. You know the buzz acronym: TMI (Too Much Information).
Keep up your usual fascinating writing!
Posted by: Nick | Monday, February 11, 2013 at 06:26 PM
Dear Kristin: My family abandoned me when I had breast cancer. I haven't spoken to them since. I too am a writer and I wrote those chapters of abandonment and betrayal. But it seemed that just writing them was enough. I never finished the book that lay half written about my cancer journey.
Once out there, words cannot be taken back. The internet offers the illusion that no one of importance will know.
I'm now writing the fun books I always wanted and the devastating hurt inflicted by people who are supposed to love me is fading. Writers don't owe their most intimate moments to friends or strangers, even if there is a possibility of a greater good.
Ultimately, only you decide what is right for you.
Sending support, Maya
Posted by: Maya | Monday, February 11, 2013 at 06:29 PM
You are courageous, you are AWESOME!!! Nobody is perfect. You give so much joy to so many of us who love the french language and life in France a lot of us would like to have. The most important thing is the unconditional love of your husband, your beautiful family and of course!!!! US, the readers who love you and are grateful for your gift of French Word a Day.
Posted by: Marti Hinman | Monday, February 11, 2013 at 06:30 PM
Write what you feel you want to write.
It is your life not your readers.
Thank you for sharing so much of yourself.
Edie from Savannah
Posted by: Edie Schmidt | Monday, February 11, 2013 at 06:37 PM
Felicitations on your sobriety! That is so wonderful! Ten years is no small feat at all. I am so proud of you and I know your beautiful family is too.
As for the chapters you are writing, do whatever feels comfortable and right for you. Your family seems very supportive of you and that is an invaluable resource.
Many people are encouraging you to tell all. I say: follow your heart. Does it feel right to you to tell the world a very private, vulnerable part of yourself? Are you ready to be able to let go of people who may judge you unfairly or decide that they don't want to be part of your life? This can and does happen when we reveal the parts of ourselves that aren't the best.
In the last year, I lost "friends" and "boyfriends" because of my struggle with depression. They only wanted to be around me as long as I faked happiness. They did not care how lonely I really felt. They didn't care how hard I was struggling. They just left me because sending a text message of encouragement was too much for them; saying a kind word was too much for them; practicing the kindness and compassion of their religions and putting it in action to someone in their life was not really something they wanted to do.
While I am glad that the people who obviously never loved me in the first place are gone, it does leave scars and it hurts. It is not easy to deal with on top of the other issues with which I have been grappling.
You do not owe the world your story or any other part of you. You can be honest without pouring out the most vulnerable parts of you to everyone. Confessing your sins do not make you a saint. Unfortunately it can make you an object to be judged. At least in my experience, that is what happened.
I am not saying any of these things to discourage you; only to make sure you have considered all angles before you proceed. Many people will encourage you because they have no idea how painful it can be to be rejected because you are recovering from an illness or they learn that their image of you isn't exactly as they wanted it to be because it doesn't fit their mold.
All of this being said, take your time to do what is best for YOU. Those who love you and care about you, they will be there. The ones who don't, will show themselves. You do have a lot of support from your readers, and especially from me :)
My thought are with you as you struggle with this that you will find the right choice for you.
Posted by: Elizabeth B | Monday, February 11, 2013 at 06:39 PM
Your courage to share is amazing, and I am better for knowing you through your writings. I agree completely with Edie from Savannah, as this is your life to write about what you need to express. I am just thankful that you have chosen to share with us, as I know you have enriched my life.
Frances in Napa, California.
Posted by: Frances | Monday, February 11, 2013 at 06:46 PM
As Oscar Wilde once said, "It is none of YOUR business what other people think of you!"
If you write, if you don't, if you breath, if you don't, there will always be the Nay Sayers, there is nothing you can, or can not do to stop them! And you know what? It doesn't matter a jolt. So go ahead, be true to yourself, listen only to those who love and support you, and at the end of the day know, it is your choice how you feel, who you listen to and what you chose to do. Isn't it blessing to have choices! Go get 'em gal! Cheers from your Kiwi devotee in the Loir et Cher.
Posted by: Megan Davies Thomson | Monday, February 11, 2013 at 07:01 PM
So many people go through life never discussing their weaknesses, never discussing their fears, never really revealing themselves to others. You are not like that. I think you want to write this story so you have two choices. Write a memoir or write a work of fiction based on your experiences. It is easy to pass judgement on others and much more difficult to be supportive during difficult times. I can only think that your "friend" doesn't know Jean-Marc or your relationship with each other. I am lucky to know you through your blog but to have also spent time with both of you. I have always been struck by how much you are one another's true partner. You have faced so much together and I think will in the future.
Posted by: Suzanne, Monroe Twp., NJ | Monday, February 11, 2013 at 07:14 PM
Wylie, Pat and Elizabeth B's comments are very wise. Consider carefully your reasons for going ahead publicly and the consequenses of doing so. Being true to yourself doesn't necessarily mean exposing yourself to the world.
Posted by: Sharon | Monday, February 11, 2013 at 07:26 PM
Bon Courage, Kristin,
You are a very strong and courageous woman, and lucky to have Jean-Marc by your side. A wise American football coach, Vince Lombardi, once said: "It's not whether you get knocked down. It's whether you get up again that counts"...
And remember, you're not alone. WE are out here cheering for your success.
All the best,
Posted by: gabrielle tsabag | Monday, February 11, 2013 at 07:27 PM
Pray with your family and do what God leads you to do. We love and admire you and always will so don't worry about us. Just do what you need to do. This Wednesday begins the time to walk the Stations of the Cross. You will never walk alone in this life because God will always be with you. Think of the courage it took Dr. Bob and Bill Wilson to start AA. Writers have to make tough decisions a lot. God bless.
Posted by: Diane Young | Monday, February 11, 2013 at 07:27 PM